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Steve's Blog

Tuesday, 06 September 2011 13:26

Frustrated Blog

Frustrated Blog

The heading of my latest blog sums up how I feel at the moment with peoples views on goalkeeping in general, goalkeepers and goalkeeping coaches.


From all my experiences over the years both from playing myself and through my coaching career so far I have to say, managers and outfield coaches in "general", not all but in general couldn't care less about goalkeepers but are very quick to moan when the ball hits the back of the net. STOP..................THINK............................REWIND..........now start at the top end of the pitch:


Has the striker given the ball away needlessly with a bad touch, a bad pass or a bad shot?

Has the Striker bothered to shut down the full back or centre back to try and stop them playing out easily?

Has the wide midfielder worked hard enough to stop the full back or opposition wide midfielder breaking?

Has the central midfielder got a tackle in?

Has the midfield in general given the ball away cheaply?

Has the midfield tracked their men back and stopped them getting into the box un-marked?

Has the midfield been caught out of position allowing the opposition through too easily?

Has the full back stopped the cross coming into the box?

Has the centre back won his header or tackle?

Has the centre back marked his man tightly?

Has the defence or midfield given away a needless free kick in a dangerous area?


Hopefully you are starting to see where I am going with this. If you analyse each goal you can take it back to where the move first started and see who hasn't done their job and how the ball has eventually got anywhere near your goal before you even start looking at why the goalkeeper hasn't been able to keep the ball out. No it's easier to just blame the goalkeeper it seems.


When teams do concede goals, yes the goalkeeper can at times be at fault and have done better to prevent that goal I am not denying this and a goalkeeper and a goalkeeping coach should first look to see what could of been done better from a purely goalkeeping aspect. The trouble is when a team is conceding goals regularly whether the goalkeeper is directly responsible for a goal or not, confidence will naturally be affected. It's at times like these the goalkeeper has to have a strong character and personality about them and shrug off what has happened, reflect briefly yes but then forget about it and move on to the next game or next moment in the match.


"You cannot affect or change the past, but you can make a difference to the future"


Therefore when a goalkeeper has made a mistake or let a goal in the thing I look for is what they do next, do they go into their shell, sulk or make further mistakes or are they positive and play their normal game and not allow it to affect them. It's those that have the ability to shrug it off and be positive that are the successful goalkeepers.


I have seen and heard through my own eyes and ears when a coach or manager has moaned about a goalkeeper over a goal or game they have played yet when that goalkeeper has made a great save or had a great game you hear the phrase "Thats what they are there to do"........I also remember having a debate with a striker once when our team's goalkeeper got a "man of the match award" and he moaned the same thing "Thats what he is paid to do, make saves" and my response was that working on that principle every time that striker failed to score in a game that surely mean't he WASN'T doing his job and should be dropped!!


On a number of occasions I have been sat in the dugout in both youth and senior football and the coach or manager of that respective team has turned and moaned at me that the goalkeeper hasn't come for a cross, or should of done this or that. The thing is that works both ways as perhaps I should pass comment everytime an outfield player miss-times a pass, misses an open goal, fails to make a good tackle, doesn't mark his man etc....the list goes on......


Yet after all of this has that coach or manager given due care and attention to the goalkeeper in the training during the week or in the pre-match warm up or has he just concentrated on the outfield players and left the goalkeeper to his own devices without any specialised help, support or encouragement. Probably not as most outfield coaches and managers are obvlivious to the needs of a goalkeeper so don't even think about it.


This leads me on as a prime example to the strange attitudes at the FA itself and a coaching process I just cannot make sense of. Through the coaching pathway at the FA, as I have worked through my badges to be a goalkeeping coach I have had to do it in this order: Level One outfield, Level One Goalkeeping, Level Two outfield, Level Two Goalkeeping, UEFA B Licence outfield, UEFA B Licence Goalkeeping. I now want to do my UEFA A Licence Goalkeeping but have to do my UEFA A Licence outfield first......which is a 2-3 year course and costs around £3,500 pounds!!!! The last course I tried to enquire about was over-subscribed so my pathway is being blocked financially (as I now can't afford it, wheras at the time Swindon Town were prepared to fund it) and in terms of time it will take for me to get to UEFA A Licence goalkeeping.


I repeat that you have to pass the outfield qualification BEFORE you can pass the goalkeeping qualification. I am told that you need to have the outfield knowledge as this affects the goalkeeping element in the game. So working on that theory you would naturally assume that to become an outfield coach you would also have to do the goalkepeing qualifications as well................WRONG!!!! You never have to take a goalkeeping qualification if you don't want to and can work all the way through up to Pro Licence. Nobody has ever explained to me the reason behind this or how that can be fair and right but basically it means to become a goalkeeping coach you need to be more qualified and knowledgable than an outfield coach!


No wonder goalkeepers stick together and you hear often about the "Goalkeepers Union" its because it can be a thankless position to play or coach, you need thick skin and a strong character and you get little support.


Having said all of that and got it off my chest, it won't stop my enthusiasm to try and help, encourage and improve all that I work with both in youth and senior level football.

Sunday, 31 July 2011 11:58

Opening Blog of the Season

Opening Blog Of The Season

Well its been 8 weeks since my last blog and alot has been going on since then. For some people a well earned rest but for me I only managed two full weeks where my gloves were washed and put away and did not see the light of day. It's good to have a rest and re-charge the batteries and in many ways I would of liked a longer break. However gone are the days when I used to pack my football kit away and get out my "whites" and cricket bat and spend my summer at the crease.


At the end of May I held a two day course at Cirencester Town and had 28 goalkeepers attend and generally the weather wasn't too bad. It was a good weekend and the attitude and efforts of all that attended was excellent and their parents should be proud of their children. They worked hard but there was a good mix with the "Banter" that went on amongst the children themselves and the coaches so everyone enjoyed the two days. Phil Smith from Swindon Town came out as a favour to me and talked openly about the season just past and touched briefly on the season ahead. Phil also handed out the awards for me and posed for pictures and signed autographs which I and everybody appreciated. All the pictures from those two days can be found on the gallery page of my website.


Also during the summer so far I was staggered to receive an email from as far away as a parent in Norway! This parent was due over in England on a family holiday and he enquired about booking some private one-to-one coaching sessions while over here for his 6 year old son who plays in goal for his local team in Norway. We managed to finalise some dates and times around my hectic schedule and I got to work with 6 Year old Oliver. At such a young age one-to-one sessions can be hard going depending on both their ability level and attention level and also because one-to-one sessions can be quite demanding physically. However Oliver did really well and impressed me greatly in the short time I had with him and he showed signs of improvement very quickly so I hope he is now back in Norway putting into practise the aspects of goalkeeping we worked upon. A few pictures taken by his Dad can be seen on my "Steve Hale Goalkeeping Facebook Page" and I also hope to have them on the gallery page of this website shortly.


In terms of my work with Swindon Town Centre of Excellence again I didn't get much of a break as the Squad for the Milk Cup Tournament in Ireland we compete in each year reported in at the start of June for its preperations. Therefore I worked with three of our goalkeepers aged under 15 who were competing for the two goalkeeping spots in the squad. Initially we worked on the physical side and in the sun they certainly sweated as I put them through their paces. Then as it got closer to the departure date we got more into the technical and game specific work and all three goalkeepers worked hard. Halfway through the 6 week training period the two goalkeepers that would be travelling were finalised but credit to the third who was unfortunately left out as he showed a fantastic attitude and continued to come in training and was ready if he were called upon. As it turned out he was unlucky not to make the trip with us to Ireland as one of the goalkeepers picked up a hand injury on the eve of the tournament but still travelled. While at the tournament the younger of the two goalkeepers we took got his opportunity to start due to the hand injury picked up by the first choice and older goalkeeper who needed an extra day or two to recover. As it was the young goalkeeper took his opportunity really well picking up Man of the Match in the first game against a Professional Danish side, then keeping his place and keeping a clean sheet against a North Dublin team before doing well again against Premiership side Everton in the third game. In the fourth game the first choice was recalled allowing him some game time and in a penalty shoot out he made a match winning penalty save. In the final both played a half each though we unfortunately slipped to defeat but over the week I was generally pleased with how they performed.


Remaining on the Swindon Town theme, over the summer First Team Goalkeeping coach George Wood was sadly let go by Paolo Di Canio to bring in his own man which often happens in football. I was particularly sad about this as over the past two years George had been extremely supportive of me personally and I often assisted him, watched him and talked to him and I learn't alot from him. I have spoken to him since his departure and will remain in touch with him and I sincerely hope he picks up another job soon as he has masses of experience which goalkeepers can benefit from and is a thoroughly top bloke. To date I haven't yet met any of the new management team including new goalkeeping coach Domenico Doardo but hope to meet them soon. I have spoken with the two Youth team goalkeepers at the County Ground and they have both said Domenico has a totally different style of goalkeeping coaching to what they have been used to in the past so i'm looking forward to the opportunity to go in and meet Domenico and watch how he works.


At Cirencester Town we started back in pre season at the end of June and having lost goalkeeper Matt Bulman to Blue Square Premier side Forest Green Rovers on a two year full time contract I managed to make contact with Danny Greaves, a goalkeeper who came through the system at Bristol Rovers but who then drifted into the Non league game. Between me and the gaffa we persuaded him to sign and I have to say he has been a pleasure to work with so far. He is 27/28 years of age, has a good physique and stature for a goalkeeper and is athletic and very agile. Having seen Matt get back into the full time game (Matt came through the system at Swindon before he to drifted into the non league game) I feel that if Danny works hard this season and performs well he to could potentially be snapped up again from a team higher up and hopefully I can help him along the way.


Back to my goalkeeping school and my regular Monday evening sessions will be re-starting on Monday 5th September at Ruskin Junior School so I will be looking forward to my existing goalkeepers returning and any new goalkeepers who want to work at their game and improve.


Please continue to follow my website and blogs and also I do have a "Steve Hale Goalkeeping School Facebook Page" where you can also pick up news, see pictures and even the occasional video clip.

Monday, 30 May 2011 08:37

Final Blog of the Season

Final Blog of the Season

May Bank Holiday Monday and I write my final blog of the season and the chance for a well earned break, though a relatively short one it will be. For the next four weeks my boots and gloves and can cleaned and put away and a chance to relax with no coaching of any kind and a chance to reflect and re-charge the batteries.


The last few weeks of the season at Swindon Town Centre of Excellence have been hectic to say the least. Firstly the tough task of the retains and releases where we decide on who gains another contract and who unfortunately at this stage isn't up to the required standard. Obviously it's great to see the young goalkeepers faces when you tell them that they will be getting a further contract but having to release a young goalkeeper is awful. When you have spent a few seasons with a goalkeeper week in week out you form a bond and you enjoy the weekly banter with them and for them they dream of becoming a professional so when you break the news to them most obviously get upset and I don't mind admitting I get a massive lump in my throat! I always hope they go away, keep working hard at their game and prove me wrong, I would love nothing more. The games schedule towards the end is also heavy and we have had some great games that Centre of Excellence Director Jeremy (Nutty) Newton has arranged for the lads. Over the course of the season we have played the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, Man City, Liverpool, Birmingham, Aston Villa along with our normal programme against the likes of Bristol Rovers, Cheltenham Town, Oxford Utd etc. In the last few weeks we made the trip to Man Utd's Carrington Training ground for a series of games which was fantastic and this last week the lads got to actually play on Readings Madjeski Stadium which was again a great experience for them.


We also had a trip to Holland where we played a series of games and also visited Feyenoords ground and looked round the stadium and got to watch the First team train which was again great to see, especially watching the goalkeepers go through their routine. Seeing them so close up and seeing their amazing agility routines it shows what standards need to be attained to play at the top level.


Due to school half-term, various Bank Holidays and the Holland trip, members of my goalkeeping school had about 4 weeks off not long ago but were then back in for the first few weeks of May for the final sessions of the season. It's been a long hard season for us all so for the first session back after the mini break there was a certain lethargy about it but after a little pep talk the last two sessions were of a better tempo and we had some fun. The final leg of the season for Steve Hale Goalkeeping School was my May Two Day Course which we ran once again at Cirencester Town over Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th. Last year I had 20 on the course, this time round 28 so I was really pleased with the numbers. Also what was nice was that although it was nice to have some of my regulars on the course I had a big proportion of goalkeepers I had not seen or worked with before and from areas outside of Swindon so that was also really pleasing and refreshing. Credit to all of them, they worked really hard over the two days and we had a few characters on the course who kept all the coaching staff and other goalkeepers entertained! My two assistants, Chippy (James Whitlock) and Grubber (Jason Grubb) did a great job and Swindon Town goalkeeper Phil Smith helped me out by coming in to answer a few questions and give out the prizes which I appreciated. It's great for the young goalkeepers to get a chance to meet someone like Phil, and pick his brains as to what it's like to be a professional. A friend of mine, Andy Crook was in attendance at various times over the two days to take photographs and has done a fantastic job and last night I spent a few hours sifting through hundreds of great pictures and it's a hard task trying to narrow down which ones to use as there are so many good ones! These I hope to have on the gallery page shortly (they are already on my "Steve Hale Goalkeeping School Facebook Page")


I am really pleased with how my goalkeeping school and my two day course has gone this year and a massive amount of credit for that should go to the parents. Throughout the course of the season we have experienced all kinds of weather conditions and yet many a parent has stood outside in those conditions at Ruskin School while their child has been working on their goalkeeping techniques. Also in this tough financial climate they have paid their monthly fees without fail, some have incurred petrol costs while bringing their child in with some from outside Swindon making the trip. So I certainly say a big thank you to all parents and hopefully their child appreciates what their parents do for them in supporting them to improve. These days with so many distractions and home comforts such as X-Box and all sorts of computer games, laptops, I-pods etc many a youngster sits at home getting nowhere near enough the amount of excercise that they should so its great to see all the kids on a Monday evening getting out in the fresh air and being active.


As I said at the start I have four weeks off now before it all starts again for me with pre-season training at Cirencester Town starting on the 28th June!! (it just seems to get earlier and earlier each year!) and then in early July our Swindon Town Centre of Excellence preparations start for the Milk Cup tournament in Ireland at the end of July so i'll be back in working to prepare the goalkeepers for that tournament. I also have a couple of one-to-one sessions booked in early July with a young goalkeeper who lives in Norway but who is over here for a few days so its great that my website has been seen that far afield!


My final thanks go to Pete Matthews who not only setup this website but helps maintain it for me, I am extremely grateful to Pete.


As always I have waffled on but I would like to thank everybody who has visited my website and taken the time to read my ramblings over the course of the season, I hope you are as passionate about goalkeeping as I am.


Have a good Summer!

Thursday, 21 April 2011 17:26

Development Blog Part Two

Development Blog Part Two

Since my last blog I have taken in a grass roots junior game and also experienced junior football in Holland.


Its not often that I get the opportunity to watch my nephew play for his local team as i'm normally involved with watching my goalkeepers at Swindon in the Centre of Excellence games programme on a Sunday morning. However a few weeks ago all the age groups were away so I went to watch him play. He isn't a goalkeeper, he plays in midfield or an attacking role so it was great to see him play and good that one of my goalkeepers from my goalkeeping school was also playing as he plays in the same side as my nephew. I don't often get chance to see my goalkeepers in game action and see if they are putting into practise the techniques we work on each week so it was good to watch the match on two fronts. The goalkeeper in question had a good starting position for through balls and swept up well behind his defence and made a couple of good saves so I was pleased with how he did. There was one thing that disappointed me though, and this was no fault of his. We are talking under 11 football here and nearly all young goalkeepers at this age will struggle to get big distances on their kicking from goal kicks / free kicks etc. The ball went out for a goal kick and a biggish lad playing at the back picked the ball up placed it down on the floor and took the goal-kick and kicked it as hard and as far as he could. I turned to my brother-in-law and said "Why is he taking the goal-kick and not the goalkeeper?" to which he replied "Apparently he gets it further up the pitch" I have two points to make here; firstly how is he going to improve and develop his kicking if he doesn't get the opportunity to take goal-kicks? Secondly from a coaching and team point of view if this is the case why can't the coach actually coach the team how to play out from the back working on the defenders positions to receive the ball and also the midfielders making runs? This would benefit both the goalkeeper and the outfield players, then the goalkeeper could mix up playing out from the back and kicking longer and help him develop his game. Often we all learn by making mistakes and then finding a different way of doing something to be successful, this would be achieved by trying to play out from the back, yes it may cost the odd goal but in the longer term the players overall will benefit.


I have just returned from a week away in Holland with Swindon Town Centre of Excellence where we took the Under 11's, 12's & 13's. Over the course of the week we managed to have two 2 hour long training sessions and we played games against top professional teams such as Feyenoord and Sparta Rotterdam and games against non league sides such as FC Emma and Gravezande. In the games against the professional teams we played the relevant age groups against the relevant age groups but against the non league sides we played our lads against the age group above so they were tested over the course of the games technically, tactically and physically. What I like about the Centre of Excellence games both here and when we go abroad is that the results are irrelevant, we won some games, drew some and lost some but there is no pressure that we must win and gain 3 points. This allows far more learning and experimenting to take place which can only benefit the lads. Over the course of the week I got to have plenty of time working with the goalkeepers we took away with us on the training ground, seeing them in games and seeing how they were in a social environment being responsible for keeping their rooms tidy and reporting for meals and departure times for games and training etc. While we were away we also managed to watch Feyenoord first team train from close up which was great. The goalkeepers were put through their paces and some of the agility work with hurdles was superb and demonstrated the levels of agility and mobility that a goalkeeper needs at the highest levels of the game. What I will also say about the trip, I was surprised at just how good the facilities were in Holland and it really puts us to shame in England. Even non league grass roots teams seemed to have at least two 3g flloodlit pitches and a few grass pitches with railings and in some cases small stands combined with a really nice big clubhouse which seemed to be a focal point in the community of that particular town, it certainly made us jealous as coaches!


This week I was also pleased that I got to see another of the goalkeepers in my goalkeeping school perform when he turned out for the North Wilts Rep team against one of our age groups at the Centre of Excellence. It was the first time I had properly seen him play in a game and he did really well making a number of great saves so I was very pleased for him.


Well the season is coming to an end shortly and its the time of year most goalkeepers don't like as its no fun playing on rock hard pitches with very little grass in the goal-mouths, balls bouncing high and awkwardly and the sun in your eyes! Still we all need a break to re-charge the batteries. Having said that, I am close to finalising a two day course which will be towards the end of May or early June.

Sunday, 13 March 2011 15:19

Coaching Style Blog

Coaching Style Blog

Many years ago there was no such thing as a goalkeeper coach. Goalkeepers were made to train with the outfield players or do a bit on their own but over the years gradually at first this started to change. At some levels there is still nowhere near enough attention paid to our goalkeepers but there has been improvements and nowadays there are specialised goalkeeper coaches around all with their own styles.


There are plenty of aspects to consider when coaching goalkeepers. General handling, footwork, shot-stopping, diving techniques, positioning, 1v1's, dealing with crosses, dealing with back-passes, distribution (throwing & kicking), recovery saves, communication to name some of the areas that goalkeepers need to be aware of and work at. When you break each area down you then look at ways to coach and practise those techniques to give the information and technique to the goalkeepers and to re-inforce it by visiting each topic regularly.


In this modern era as coaches we all strive to try and keep our sessions interesting and fun at the same time which is important to keep the focus of the goalkeeper. However I do think there is a fine line between being innovative and making things unrealistic. You may find an old school goalkeeping coach who is happy with just a ball and a goal and a modern goalkeeping coach who has to have every little tool and gimmick going such as rebounder nets, response balls, poles, ladders, hurdles, and every toy going. Personally I feel that I am somewhere in the middle. One very experienced goalkeeping coach who I have worked with and have a lot of respect for said to me one day when talking about a goalkeeper working on a speed ladder "I can't remember seeing many ladders laying round the 18 yard box when that whistle blows!"  I did laugh when he said that and I understood what he mean't but at the same time I also understand that the speed ladder is to work the goalkeeper to improve his quick feet movements. Going to the other end of the spectrum I think sometimes some coaches use so many tools and gimmicks and lose sight of the basics. I've tried a few bits of equipment such as a response ball (which is a ball with small soft triangle like shapes sticking out of it at various points) which is designed to travel and bounce off in awkward angles to replicate deflections. Some of the young kids find that fun to have a play with but personally I just don't find it very realistic and at times if it catches them in the face it can be uncomfortable for them, not dangerous I should add before I get sued by the makers but certainly uncomfortable so it hardly builds their confidence.


I try to work on themes of goalkeeping and use different drills as much as I can to get that particular theme across but you cannot re-invent the wheel! Often I like to go back to the basics and have a bag of balls and either serve them at a goalkeeper in goal or let the goalkeepers do the serving and stand back and observe and step in and try and help correct errors. Depending on the age and / or level of the goalkeepers you are working with serving can be a problem. In an ideal world someone else should be doing the serving so that you as a coach can fully observe the goalkeeper all through the process making sure they are getting into line, how far off the line they are, what their set position is like then what method of technique they use to make the save. However more often than not you have to do the serving yourself to get the quality of serve that is needed for the goalkeepers to make the saves. Its pointless observing if your goalkeeper faces 20 shots and only 1 is on target!


I read one article by a well known goalkeeping coach on the circuit about how more often than not the ball should be moving when serving such as a ball coming across the server, moving away or serving on the move as apart from free kicks and penalties most shots aren't struck from a stationary position and I thought that was a great point. I agree with that point but also its not always easy to replicate it especially if you are working on a muddy bobbly surface and you want to ensure good accuracy. However I have tried to bring that more into my sessions over the last 6 months when I can.


I feel its important to break down different technique work and work on it regularly as in house building terms its the "foundations" of goalkeeping you are building. At the same time certainly over the past 6 months I have also tried to concentrate time to quite simply having shots come in from different distances, different angles and with different degrees of pace on the ball for the goalkeepers to ultimately work on what they are there to do "keep the ball out of the goal"!


In closing, I do not think there is a definitive right or wrong way to coach goalkeepers, I just think there are different ways and we all have a different style and people learn in different ways. The key to it is finding what works for you and most importantly what works for the goalkeepers you are working with to help them improve.

Tuesday, 08 February 2011 15:33

Development Blog

Development Blog

I recently saw that Sir Trevor Brooking and the FA have started to look and make plans to re-develop youth football in this country and i'm glad. Its fantastic that so many young children play football but to start with at local level its just become far too competitive at too early an age. I've personally always wanted to win whatever game i'm playing be it football, cricket or a game of cards and i'm not saying its wrong to be competitive, far from it. However at such a young age up to I would say around 11 or 12 you look in the local paper and see all these league tables. Then you go down your local parks pitches and you see "Fabio Capello Wannabes" ranting and raving on the touchline screaming at these youngsters!! Now i'm not saying that all coaches and managers of Junior teams are like that as I know alot of people myself who run Junior teams that give their free time and do their best for the children. However I have seen situations myself at first hand, i've heard re-counts of situations from managers and coaches I know and my brother in law who is a referee has been on the end of abuse from some managers/coaches/parents and players all that desperate to win 3 points to see their team move up the table or win a league.


I repeat myself here "There are lots of good people running Junior sides giving up their free time to provide football for children"....However there are also alot of people who get an FA Level One coaching badge, which to be honest you can get with your next packet of Kellogs Coco-Pops. These people then proceed to use their team as a means to feed their own ego and are not so much interested in developing a young child as a footballer or as a person.


I have experienced on a few occasions now where I have sadly had a parent come to me and say that their child was giving up goalkeeping because of the stick they had taken for making a mistake or letting in some goals. Their confidence had been hit badly and one lad I know who I had alot of time for sadly gave up the game altogether which left me also feeling sad!


Being a goalkeeper is hard whether you are in your thirties and 50+ international caps behind you or whether you are just starting out at 6 or 7 years of age. Young players and particularly goalkeepers need our support to develop and flourish, they do not need to be put under so much pressure. GOALKEEPERS WILL MAKE MISTAKES that is a fact. Often those mistakes will then lead to a goal being conceded. What you gain in age and playing in many games is experience. That experience will come in the form of using your techniques of goalkeeping you have learn't but also then knowing what technique to use in different situations in a game and what the best option is.


I have two questions that any young goalkeeper or parent reading this needs to ask themselves when looking for a team to play for:


Do you or your son/daughter want to have a trophy cabinet at home brimming full of medals as your main priority?


If the answer to this question is "Yes" then go and find the best team in the league to play for. However...........


Do you or your son/daughter want to become the best goalkeeper you/they can possibly be?


If the answer to this question is "Yes" then find a team in the middle of the table or even at the bottom end of the table.


Why? You may ask.........because the way to learn is to be put in different situations frequently to help you apply the techniques that you learn and practise and understand when and why you use them. You will also learn to deal with the mental side to the game and become stronger for it. Playing for the top side you may hardly touch the ball and have very little to do so how can you develop and become better? Playing for the weaker side you will have more to do and will learn and improve by applying your techniqes time and time again and will learn to make more correct decisions than poor ones.


When I see a coach showing his/her anger and upset how his/her goalkeeper has cost their team a goal I always think to myself the following: Have you helped that goalkeeper in training in the week practising his/her skills? Before that shot has gone in, did his/her defenders work hard enough to stop the shot coming in? Were his/her team-mates marking the player properly who scored? Did his/her team-mates give the ball away easily allowing the opposition to get the shot in, in the first place? Its just so easy to just blame the poor young goalkeeper and then dent his/her confidence and make them more likely to make another mistake. 


To be allowed to develop properly a young player needs to learn from mistakes they make. To do this they need to know that if they do make a mistake they are not going to get screamed at. That its ok to make a mistake, its not the end of the world and can they find another way of doing something or can they improve their technique through practise so that mistake doesn't happen again in the future.


One aspect of goalkeeping which I believe is the hardest is dealing with crosses. Its very easy for a goalkeeper to just stay on his/her line and hope that their defenders deal with them. However I encourage my goalkeepers to be positive and come and try and deal with as many as possible within reason. They are bound to make errors in judgement but I would rather they try and fail, then learn from that than hide away from it in the first place.


If you or your son/daughter is currently playing for a coach/manager who screams abuse or doesn't handle your situation in a caring and responsible manner. Who doesn't offer ways to help you improve, then I would suggest you are in the wrong club and you need to look elsewhere as there are plenty of good clubs/coaches and managers out there so much better to try that than just give up on goalkeeping or the game itself.






Tuesday, 18 January 2011 16:23

Fantastic Effort Blog!

Fantastic Effort Blog!

Last night (Monday 17th Jan) I collected in the final few envelopes of sponsorship money for the "Save for Robbie Appeal" event which took place on Monday 13th December. When I got home I got out all the other envelopes and completed my spreadsheets, counted up all the cheques and bagged up all the cash and sat in awe looking at the final total on my calculator. Earlier that day I had read the latest piece in the Evening Advertiser on how Robbie's appeal was coming along having noticed over the last couple of months a few articles wherby some Swindon companies had helped Robbie's family out with some events. There was a carpet company in Stratton and Specsavers (a nationwide company) and the total currently stood at £4550.00.


Steve Hale Goalkeeping school is a small goalkeeping coaching organisation ran solely by me with Chippy helping me out with some coaching and support. We have just over 30 members signed up who regularly attend our Monday night sessions. 29 took part on the evening in freezing conditions and over the course of the last month the young goalkeepers and their parents have set about raising funds by way of sponsorship and donations. 5 of the 29 goalkeepers managed to raise over £100 each, one in particular raised a staggering £359 which left me gobsmacked. Both myself and Chippy begged and rolled out our "puppy-dog" eyes to work colleagues, family and friends and between us all the figure that popped up on my calculator at 9.00pm last night was £2055.00!!.....when I set out to try and help out, I thought if I could raise £1000.00 I would have done really well so as you can imagine today I am feeling extremely proud of everyone who has done their bit to make this a success.


I have spoken with Kelly (Robbie's Mum) today and she was amazed and very thankful and within the next 7 days the monies will be handed over and will go into the special account setup for their fund. There are many sad and awful things that happen in this world today and lots of events and charities out there all with good people trying to do their bit to help others, its a never-ending task. It is our responsibility to appreciate what we have, not take it, or life for granted and try and help others and I would like to personally thank everyone who has helped and taken part in this event we put on to try and help Robbie and his family.


A VERY PROUD Steve Hale!

Tuesday, 04 January 2011 17:17

New Year Blog

New Year Blog

I'd like to start my first blog of 2011 with best wishes to everybody for the coming year, hopefully everyone had a really good Christmas.


I had a really good two week break, firstly managing to beat the bad weather and the transport problems and managed 5 nights in sunny Tenerife where temperatures were 25 degrees each day, certainly warmer than the -12 degrees I encountered as I drove down the M4 to Bristol airport for our departure! It was great to get away and relax in the sunshine by the beach or the outdoor pool at our hotel. I'm also grateful my good lady is very understanding as I managed to find a football match to watch, just 5 minutes from our hotel!! It was a Spanish 3rd division game and despite the poor attendance apart from some Brits like me, itching to see some football having not witnessed much back home it was nice to watch a game.


On my return on Christmas Eve we had to acclimatise back to the freezing cold conditions of England, but once home we settled in for Christmas during which we had a good time. Last Thursday the weather had cleared up enough for us to finally play our league cup game with Hungerford for Cirencester where I'm part of the coaching staff so it was good to get back out on the grass and strike some balls at Bully (our keeper at Cirencester). Yesterday on the eve of our game with Swindon Supermarine we had a light snow flurry and it does seem cold again but i'm just praying that the really bad weather has gone so I can concentrate on getting back into my coaching routine.


This week should see me back in after the Christmas break with the goalkeepers at the Centre of Excellence at Swindon and on Monday (10th) it will be the first session back for "Steve Hale Goalkeeping School" so i'm looking forward to that.


With regards the recent "Save for Robbie Appeal" event which took place just before Christmas, I would ask that all members who took part collect and bring in their sponsor money to that session so that I can work out the final total at which point I will make an announcement. Initial figures from what I already have in look good so fingers crossed and I will shortly have pictures of the event on the gallery page for people to view.


I currently have for my Monday night sessions 4 spaces available in my younger age group and 2 spaces available in my older age group. If there are any budding goalkeepers out there who would like to improve their goalkeeping techniques please make contact with me as soon as possible to reserve a place.


Thursday, 16 December 2010 18:43

Proud Blog

Proud Blog!

I want to start this blog by thanking all parents and goalkeepers for making Monday night's "Save for Robbie Appeal Event" a good evening. It was a great effort from all concerned on a cold evening. Thanks go to Mr & Mrs Strange for helping sell raffle tickets and putting all the tickets in Pete Matthews hat (good of him to let us use it on such a cold evening!) Thanks also to Pete himself for taking photographs and thanks to the parents who stayed and watched and also encouraged and applauded the goalkeepers themselves who put alot of effort in. Also special mention to George Burr and his mum who were struggling to get there due to George's sister being late back from a school event. George came out from Wantage just in time to take part in his "20 Penalties" which I thought was a great effort to participate in the event.


I'm trying not to go into too much detail about the event in this blog because as soon as Pete has the pictures organised and the monies are all collected in there will be a full piece on the main site. Suffice it to say I am very proud of all involved with my goalkeeping school for their efforts.


Once again the bad weather has struck! Just as I got to Greendown this evening for a session with my goalkeepers at Swindon Town we were greeted with heavy snow. This made it a non event because apart from being extremely cold to the point of not being able to feel my fingers or toes, the poor lads had a job to catch the ball as it just kept picking up snow and bits of the rubber crumb off the surface!


With more snow forecast I am glad I am jetting off to the sun this weekend as me and my good lady take a 5 day trip to Tenerife (providing we can get to Bristol Airport ok!). Current temperatures in the Canary Islands are 25 degrees so it will be a nice respite from this horrible weather.

Friday, 10 December 2010 18:21

Latest Blog

Latest Blog

For the past two weeks this weather has disrupted football in general and me in particular! I have lost the last two regular Monday night sessions (which included my "Save for Robbie Appeal event"). Also some sessions with Swindon Town Centre of Excellence goalkeepers and the last two sessions I do for "Lions in the Community" down in Andover. As a Self Employed football coach its costing me money and at this rate the size of my turkey on Christmas Day is rapidly decreasing!


Last Saturday we (Cirencester Town) did manage to play our latest league game down at Bashley. All the way there on the coach I just couldn't see the game going ahead as we were surrounded by snow on both sides of the road but eventually when we got there some late night rain on the Friday had cleared the pitch of snow and it was playable much to our surprise. Thankfully we made the most of it and secured an excellent last minute 2-1 win.


Last night (Thursday) I was with Swindon Town Youth team for our FA Youth Cup tie at Championship side Watford at Vicarage Road. We prepared the lads well leaving early afternoon and travelling down on the First Team coach to a hotel near the ground for a pre-match meal. It was good for the lads to sample what it could be like as a professional footballer if they work hard enough and earn that first contract. I will say though that the Hilton Hotel chain need to invest some money in their toasters as the toast for my beans on toast took longer to cook than a Sunday roast!


We reached Vicarage Road and apart from one side of the ground which is tatty the rest of it is excellent and again it was great for the lads to experience playing at a stadium like that. It was always going to be a tough game as being an Academy side Watford have greater resources such as better training facilities, bigger squad size and will have had more actual coaching time as they have come up through their system. We lost the game 2-0 and they were the better side. However our lads did very well and a few things went against us in the game such as losing one of our influential midfielders in the first ten minutes to a bad head injury, then having a debatable penalty given against us with fifteen minutes gone. In the second half we forced their keeper into two great saves but then late on a bit of naivity by our full back cost us when he gave away a needless free kick and they scored from the resulting ball into our box. Overall the lads did well and maybe if a liitle luck had gone our way the result may have been different but importantly it was a great experience for the lads and one with which they can learn from which will help with their development.


Back to the weather and over the last 24 hours there has been an improvement in the temperatures and having driven past Ruskin School this afternoon I could actually see the green of the astro turf not a glaze of white. Providing temperatures don't plummet again over the weekend all should be well for the "Save for Robbie Appeal" event on Monday evening (13th). It would be great if we can make the evening a success and raise as much money as possible for Robbie and his family.

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